Think Twice Before Undergoing a Biopsy
Dr. David Brownstein
by Dr. David Brownstein: Prescription
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Is it wise
to sample a growth in the body to ascertain if it is cancerous?
The standard of care in medicine believes it is. I am not so sure.
in Cancer Cytopathology (doi:10.1002/oncy.2120; Accepted June 18,
2012) reported that a commonly used biopsy method can result in
complications. Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is a common medical
procedure used to obtain tissue for pathological examination. It
is used in thyroid biopsies. FNA is done by inserting a small needle
into the tissue and aspirating a sample. The aspirate is then placed
on a slide for pathological examination. Researchers studied 96
subjects who underwent a thyroidectomy they had their whole
thyroid gland removed. These same subjects had previously been subjected
to a FNA of their thyroid gland.
reported that 68 of the 96 (71%) thyroidectomy specimens examined
had needle tracks. That means that the previous biopsies the
FNAs were still visible after the whole thyroid gland
was removed. The longest time between the FNA and the thyroidectomy
surgery was reported to be >81 days. In this population, 74%
were found to have needle tracks.
What is wrong
with a needle track? Cancer becomes a bigger problem when it spreads.
When you introduce a needle into a cancerous mass, upon withdrawal
of the needle, cancer cells can be released into the needle track.
Now, for thyroid biopsies, FNA might be an appropriate diagnostic
procedure since thyroid cancer is (usually) a slow growing tumor.
However, for other tissue such as the breast or the prostate, the
answer is not so clear.
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Brownstein, M.D. is a Board-Certified family physician and is one
of the foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is the Medical
Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield,
MI. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and
others about his success in using natural hormones and nutritional
therapies in his practice.
© 2013 Dr. David Brownstein